The Best Restaurants in Dalston, London

The hip London neighbourhood of Dalston offers great dining options
The hip London neighbourhood of Dalston offers great dining options | © Roy JAMES Shakespeare / Getty Images
Photo of Kathryn Beeson
1 November 2021

Dalston is one of London’s hippest neighbourhoods – and that shows in its wealth of great dining options. With an international feel and a refreshingly relaxed approach, this part of town is the place to be for high-quality dining without the stuffiness. From casual street food to more upmarket spots, we’ve asked our local insiders to recommend their favourites.


Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

On what is an otherwise rundown part of the neighbourhood on Kingsland High Street, bright yakitori restaurant Jidori stands out. Take a seat in the minimalist interior for a range of Japanese-inspired dishes cooked over a kama-asa charcoal grill and enjoy the aromas of traditional skewer dishes cooking as you wait. The menu covers small plates and mains, with plenty of vegetarian dishes available. For those who want to explore a range of options, or you just can’t decide, tasting menus start at a very reasonable price. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee


Restaurant, Mexican

Looking for a fun spot to start your evening? This taqueria’s menu of mouth-watering Mexican classics will go down a treat. Expect tacos, quesadillas and more with all the classic toppings – barbacoa beef, shredded pork and chicken and a good number of veggie options, too. It’s bright, casual and has a great range of happy-hour deals, making it the perfect place to catch up with friends and grab a margarita or two before heading off to the next bar. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan

Little Duck, the Picklery

Restaurant, British, Contemporary
Street view of Little Duck, the Picklery in ground-floor space in brick building
Courtesy of Little Duck, the Picklery / | © Kristin Perers

The Picklery is a fermenting kitchen and wine bar with an intimate yet communal ambience. If you’re keen to understand how your food is made, you’ll love Little Duck’s set-up. The restaurant is centred around a large table where diners can watch as kitchen staff prepare each course. The menu, featuring pickles and ferments, changes frequently to keep things seasonal. If braised duck with ibérico tomatoes and fideu or braised beetroot, bulgar wheat, dill and onion seed yoghurt sound tempting, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee

Andu Café

Restaurant, Ethiopian

Relaxed, friendly and one of the few places in London where you can find traditional Ethiopian vegan food, Andu Café is an affordable alternative if you’re in central Dalston. By affordable, we really mean ridiculously good value for this part of London – with filling, tasty main platters starting at £7. The restaurant also runs a bring your own booze (BYOB) policy (with a small fee for corkage), so if you find yourself needing a treat on the wrong side of payday, Andu Café is the place to be. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan


Cafe, British, Chinese, Japanese

Sleek and innovative Snackbar offers high-end grub with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and trailblazing flavour combos. There’s nothing like it elsewhere in Dalston, making it a great option for a memorable brunch with that special someone. The menu covers Asian and European fusion and revamped café classics. If you’ve ever wanted to try a kimchi quesadilla, or wondered what a McMuffin might taste like if made by trained chefs and upmarket ingredients, it’s worth dropping in. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee

Le Bab x KRAFT at Kingsland Locke

Restaurant, Fusion
Kingsland Locke interior with grey and silver decor, beer bottles, potted plants and blue velvet couch
Courtesy of Kingsland Locke / | © Ed Dabney
The leafy bar-restaurant at the Kingsland Locke hotel pops with tasteful neon, while synth-pop pumps from the speakers. Head here for a modern take on kebabs, with toppings such as roasted aubergine and pork shawarma; we recommend pairing the skin-on fries with indulgent camembert sauce. But it’s the beer that steals the show, made according to 500-year-old Bavarian traditions at the chrome-filled basement brewery. Ask for a tour with the Bavaria-born beer sommelier, Helen, who will guide you through tasting one of six ever-changing brews ranging from crisp lagers to yeasty wheat beers. The aromatic Jim and Tonic gins are also distilled on-site.


Restaurant, British, Asian, Fusion, Contemporary, $$$

Located in a low-key residential street in Hackney, Pidgin offers Asian-British fusion and a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. Food is based around a four-course tasting menu that changes each week, and the chefs pride themselves on having never repeated a dish in three years. So, if there’s something you fall in love with, savour the moment – you’ll only have one chance to enjoy it. The menus consistently offer innovative flavour combos and plenty of excitement, so there’s always something new to go back for. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee


Restaurant, Vietnamese

London – specifically the East End – is not short of street-food options, so BúnBúnBún’s ability to stand out in a crowded field speaks for itself. You’ll find the usual Vietnamese delicacies on offer here, but what BúnBúnBún really specialises in is traditional bún salads. With generous helpings of vermicelli noodles, topped with a protein of your choice and finished with roasted peanuts, crispy shallots, pickles, herbs and tangy fish sauce, it’s truly sublime. Casual, affordable and perfect for a spontaneous meal out, it’s everything a good street food-inspired restaurant should be. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan

Sarah Gillespie contributed additional reporting.

These recommendations were updated on November 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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